Ever since Tucson Fox affiliate KMSB Channel 11 launched its 9 p.m. newscast, KVOA Channel 4's stamp has been part and parcel.
The two stations shared video footage and occasionally entire packages. The deal helped both parties: KMSB could use KVOA footage to add stories to its hour-long newscast; for KVOA, the benefits usually occurred via KMSB's focus on sports coverage.
That relationship will come to an end in mid-April.
"It just seemed to me we could stand on our own," said new KVOA general manager Bill Shaw. "It was a great partnership. They're great people, but the product our folks put out and all the hard work should stay with us here."
While KVOA made the call, KMSB seems OK with the decision.
"We are pleased to proceed on our own," said Belo (KMSB's parent company) Tucson general manager Bob Simone via e-mail. "We have a great team, a great product, great viewers, a great network—and we have always planned eventually to be producing our own content for our own broadcast. ... We all feel our product will continue to grow on its own, and that this will allow us to brand all of our product equally."
In addition to the contractual split, the two television outlets, located within a mile of one another, have physically separated themselves as well. Some members of the KMSB news team operated from the KVOA building until expansion eliminated that space a while back.
For Shaw and Simone—both market newcomers—it's an evolutionary step toward their stations standing on their own. KVOA opted for its "multimedia journalist" news-gathering philosophy before Shaw's arrival. Under most circumstances, "multimedia" reporters cover stories alone, also handling photography and editing duties as part of their job description. The spin is that it puts more bodies on the streets and therefore allows stations to report more events.
KVOA has given KMSB six weeks to get up to speed.
"We gave some flexibility so that it wouldn't be onerous on them in terms of any changes," said Shaw of the mid-April split. "It was great, but let's move on. I told my crew they've been great partners, so let's make sure we do what we've always been doing, and that will give them time to gear up."
KMSB is doing just that.
"The immediate plans are to add a few people to the staff to make up for the content we'll be losing from KVOA," Simone said. "We plan to have those people in place by early April. We'll gear up our news department to continue to provide Tucson with coverage through all day parts and more. Interested parties can see the job postings on our Web site, www.fox11az.com."
Former Arizona Daily Star editorial page editor Ann Brown has landed the position of senior media relations specialist with local public-relations firm the Caliber Group.
"Ann's knowledge of the greater Tucson community and longstanding relationships with business, media and community leaders complement our agency's strengths," said Caliber CEO Linda Welter Cohen in a press release. "Ann is a first-rate professional, and we are thrilled she has joined our public-relations team."
Brown accepted the Star's voluntary buyout in November, which ended a 12-year career that included stints as editor of Caliente (the paper's entertainment tabloid) and as a features reporter.
"I am having great fun," Brown said via e-mail. "The job is part-time, very flexible, and I do much of my work from home. I am learning about topics and fields about which I knew nothing, such as biosciences and solar-power generation. Because I am blogging and writing, I am interviewing sources and researching. That is all very similar and comfortable.
"As for the benefits of knowing media, I believe I have an understanding of what reporters and editors are looking for so I can help identify story ideas. I also hope my community knowledge and relationships give me some perspective that I can share to the benefit of Caliber and its clients. I know newspapers, and I am learning about other types of media, such as social networking, that are in Caliber's quiver. I like the challenge of trying something different and learning new things.
"There are many differences, but probably the biggest: My phone calls were returned much faster when I was editorial page editor!"
Dan Spindle has concluded his 3 1/2-year run as weekend co-anchor/general-assignment reporter on KGUN Channel 9 and will take a news position with the Fox television affiliate in Phoenix.
"I accepted a job in the Phoenix market," said Spindle on KGUN's 5 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 28, newscast. "It's tough to say goodbye to Tucson as a whole, (with) so many great people in Tucson. I want to say thank you to all the great viewers who have come up to me over the years who have said hello and cared about myself and my family. KGUN is in good hands."
The Journal Broadcast Group employment Web site lists an opening for a reporter at KGUN, which suggests the possibility the ABC affiliate will go with a solo anchor structure for its weekend newscasts in the foreseeable future.
The aforementioned Belo Tucson, which operates KMSB and KTTU Channel 18, announced the hiring of Mandy Anderson as local sales manager. Anderson most recently occupied a local/national sales manager position with KGUN Channel 9.
"We are thrilled to have Mandy join our team. She brings a solid combination of outside experience with a local perspective," said John Stringer, director of sales for Belo's Tucson stations, in a press release.